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O-Zone: Good deal

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it ...

Michael from Orange Park, FL

Help me with this, Zone. Doug Pederson canceling veteran minicamp? As you have noted many times, this team won four games the past two seasons. The veterans don't need to practice?

Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson indeed on Thursday announced that this week marks the last offseason practices for Jaguars veterans, with only rookies – and selected veterans – participating in minicamp next week. The minicamp was the lone scheduled mandatory work for Jaguars veterans as per NFL rules, but here's the reality: There's no difference between an organized team activities practice and a minicamp practice in terms of what players can do on the field. Both minicamp and OTAs are non-padded with no contact allowed. Pederson has spoken often in recent weeks about liking the high attendance during the voluntary portion of the offseason, including the three OTA weeks at TIAA Bank Field. Had attendance not been as high, or had Pederson felt the team hadn't accomplished what he wanted, I have no doubt attendance would have been mandatory for veterans next week.

John from Jacksonville

Canceling minicamp? LOL … what?

I understand fans and observers wondering and stressing about this. We in the media spend so much time breathlessly reporting on this non-padded work – analyzing which side of the ball did or didn't "play" well and declaring "winners" and "losers" based on what we believe we see – that there has been an undue importance attached to this offseason work. Make no mistake: OTAs and minicamps have meaning. They're a good way to ensure all players understand the scheme and their roles. Along with the rest of the offseason program, they're a good way to ensure players remain in shape. But once the head coach has determined that the team is ready for training camp – i.e., that the players understand the scheme to a level they can practice fast and with minimum mental errors – non-padded work has pretty much accomplished its objective.

Billy from Daytona Beach, FL

What are we running here … a country club?

No. Pederson is running a football team. One thing I have liked a lot about Pederson since his February arrival in Jacksonville is he understands what is important and what's not. I liked that he waited a week to start the offseason program in April. I liked even more that he canceled minicamp for veterans next week. He knows what he wants to accomplish in an offseason program and he knows the time that's needed to accomplish it. He doesn't believe in having players here simply for the sake of having them here. It's a good sign. A really good sign.

Darren from Fort Worth, TX

Well done, Clyde.


Nolan from Gainesville, FL

Mr. O, It's hard not to be excited about the potential of this running back group. James Robinson and Travis Etienne Jr. could be a serious problem for opposing teams. Etienne seems like the perfect pass-catching third-down running back this team has needed for a long time. However, both of these guys are coming back from very serious injuries. Lisfranc injuries have ended multiple other running backs' careers, and a torn Achilles has to be one of the worst possible injuries a football player could suffer. The Snoop Conner selection seems to imply that there could be some worry about durability at the running-back position from the Jags' staff. Definitely going to knock on wood that nothing crazy happens to Robinson or Etienne, but what are your thoughts on this running-back group being able to stay healthy?

Your assessment is sound. Robinson and Etienne if healthy can both be productive players – and their skill set would seem to complement each other. Robinson has shown he can be a 1,200-yard rusher with a knack for the end zone, and Etienne absolutely can be a threat in many ways – including as a third-down back. Etienne is participating in the offseason program and appears to be running fine. Robinson is expected to return for training camp. Still, as you said, both of their injuries were very serious – particularly for running backs. I don't know how to project what level they will reach upon returning or how well either will stay healthy. The Jaguars feel good about both, but this is the human body; different humans respond and recover from injuries differently. It will be a major storyline in training camp. Sometimes, you don't know things in advance. This is a case of waiting to see how it plays out.

Dakota from Dupree, SD

Zone, what have you been up to?

This. Oh. And that.

Dan from Munich, Germany

Hi Zone, do you believe that the salary cap system is broken? How are the Los Angeles Rams still able to sign everyone they wish to a massive contracts? When we will reach the point of having elite quarterback could be a blessing and a burden in the same time, given the contracts they are signing recently? Thank you.

The Rams indeed have signed a notable number of huge names to huge deals: Cornerback Jalen Ramsey, defensive tackle Aaron Donald, quarterback Matt Stafford and most recently wide receiver Cooper Kupp. They do so by spreading out the salary-cap impact of the signing bonuses over a long period and other cap machinations such as "voidable years" and guaranteeing money in later seasons. This process is known in league circles as "pushing money into the future. This theoretically will cause the cap ramifications to catch up with the Rams in some year in the future. These ramifications can be lessened if the cap goes up significantly in those years, which sometimes happens. I don't believe the cap is broken. It still prevents all team – even the Rams – from signing every player they want. The cost for teams with big stars is paying lesser players less across the board and thereby weakening depth. The cap was never meant to be crippling to a franchise; it was just meant to keep costs comparatively down over time and to allow a semblance of parity.

John from Jacksonville

Hi KOAGF - I just want to point out that everyone you reply to in the Ozone as having a "good eye" must also have a bad eye, too.

OK eye.

Ed from Jacksonville

It sure seems like fewer of the OTAs this year have been open to the media, is that the case?

Three organized team activities were open this year, which was the same as in 2021. There were no OTAs in 2020 and more were often open before that. Different teams open different numbers of OTAs to the media. NFL rules state you must be open at least once a week during this period. The Jaguars are abiding by that rule.

Hilarious from Funnytown

Now wait just a darn minute. Do you actually, really, positively, mean to tell me our second-year quarterback doesn't exactly stack up to one of the greatest to ever play the position? Do you even work for the team and this town, or are you angling for the Pittsburgh Steelers or something? If I'm to believe you think T-Law has a ways to go before we call him the reincarnation of Manning (10 years into his career) then I'm starting to question your integrity and whether you're "all in."

Good eye.

Ryan from Sandy Springs

Just watched the Myles Jack fumble recovery against the stinking Pats. It appears as though the running back still had his arms around the ball when he went to the ground. Though it was dislodged possession still leaned towards the offense. The fact that the Jags were awarded possession could be perceived as a gift in and of itself. But to go on and say he was down? I can't say he wasn't. The play was over and we got the ball. What's more it was 20-10 in the fourth quarter but yet we still lost. It is what it is now, but what's your take? Was it a fumble, was he down?

It was a fumble. A dislodged ball is a loose ball; I don't know of anything in the rules to address "leaning" toward one side of the ball or the other. The Jaguars being awarded possession was the correct call; not a gift. Jack wasn't down. The play was stopped because the official blew the play dead incorrectly. That doesn't mean it wasn't a difficult call. It's easy to understand why the official thought the play was dead. It was an incredible play by Jack that to the naked eye didn't appear to be a fumble. But it was a fumble. And had the official been able to rule correctly, Jack didn't gain possession of the fumble until he was untouched by the ballcarrier. He therefore should have been allowed to get up and return the fumble. And score. It was a fumble. He wasn't down. That's the take.

Gary from St. Augustine, FL

Don't forget our deal.